This occurred around 1200 BC where it is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart. The children of Israel ‘did evil in the sight of the Lord’ (Judges 6:1) and from that God caused them to be taken over by Midian for seven years. During that time the Midianites, Amalekites and those from the East went against Israel and pillaged their lands; leaving nothing to salvage. From this, the children of Israel were sorely grieved and prayed to the Lord.
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In response, God sent a prophet who told them of God’s mercy in taking them out of Egypt and protecting them. Because they had not obeyed, they were not kept safe. Then Gideon prayed and asked God for his miracles to return to be saved from the Midianites. The Lord then told Gideon to go and save Israel. Gideon was unsure of his strength and told God of his meek circumstances. God assured him that he would prevail. (Judges 6:16) After offering a sacrifice towards the Lord and seeing an angel Gideon felt comforted and knew he would not be killed (Judges 6:17-23).
Following God’s instruction during the night Gideon tore down the altar of Baal and replaced it with an altar for the Lord. Upon seeing this in the morning, the men of the city were angry and asked Joash for his son so they could kill him. In response, Joash stood and requested Baal to defend himself because it was his altar. Then he named Gideon Jerubbaal for throwing down the altar.
The Midianites, Amalekites and the ‘children of the East’ came together and put up their tents in the valley of Jezreel. Gideon (Jerubbaal) and his people woke early that morning and traveled along the well of Harod to keep the Midianites on their Northside. God then spoke to Gideon and told him his army was too great and would boast of themselves and not the Lord if they were victorious. So Gideon asked for those who were afraid to return and was left with 10,000. This was still too many for the Lord. So only those who came by the water and drank by bringing their hands to their mouth instead of kneeling down were allowed to stay and fight; thus bringing the army down to only 300 men.
Before their attack, Gideon needed his fears comforted once more and so God sent him down before the attack with his servant Phurah to spy on the host. The army of his enemies was so vast it was innumerable. Upon closing in at hearing range, Gideon heard a man speaking of a dream he had received. “Behold I dreamed a dream, and, lo a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.” (James 7:13) The comrade of the man who spoke his dream interpreted it to mean that Midian would fall into the hand of Gideon with God’s help. So Gideon felt assured of his victory and feared no more.
That night Gideon and his men surrounded the camp of the Midianites. They all carried trumpets and empty pitchers with lamps inside. So upon Gideon’s command blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, held up the lamps and cried, “The sword of the Lord, and Gideon”. The men in the camp were frightened and turned upon each other and fled.
Gideon then gathered all his men to battle with the Midianites until victory and Israel were set free. He declined the offer to become King and upon his death Israel went back to idolatry.
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